Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where am I on This Journey?

Wow! It has been such a long time since I last wrote a posting of my adventures in teaching this school year.  Let me say that my science class has kept me on my toes and quite busy.  Of course during my unintended absence to blogging for my audience, I did spend time with several technologies.  I will share my experiences with you!

Weebly for Education - My advance students write reflection journals about the learning experience in my class.  This website made it easy enough for my students to create their own websites, which are very creative if I may say so myself.

Edmodo - I love the recent updates on Edmodo since its creation.  My students easily download assignments, simulations, and just about anything resource I provide for them.  If they don't finish in class, they just post what they have, but then can go home, finish, and post their work again for my review.  I can easily post grades and share feedback about their work in their individual files.  While I am not completely bought on the badge reward system as yet, my students seem to like it.  After about a year, I will see if the badge system really works for eighth graders.

Flip & Video Editing Software - These have probably been some of the best learning resources since the start of the second semester.  Of course, my first recommendation is to make sure your school is equipped with media than can handle video files.  My students have been demonstrating their learning by making videos.  So far we've made infomercials, educational videos, and demonstration videos.  One of my students even videotaped his visit to the caves and narrated scientific concepts.  I felt like I was watching a documentary from National Geographic!

Explain Everything - This is my new favorite app on iPad.  I finally decided to get an iPad over the holidays and just researched the best apps out their for instruction and learning.  While there is a minimal cost, I believe this app is worth it!  I have made PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and more.  I simply record my voice provided the necessary information then I upload to YouTube. Within the first two weeks I was totally impressed with the amount of views each lesson received.

YouTube - Okay, so after about a year of thinking about it, I finally decided to create a YouTube channel for my class.  If nothing else, this is a great resource for students who are absent.  Initially, I thought that this would be an ever time-consuming task; however, it has not been.  The programs I use to make video presentations upload my work straight to YouTube and my job is done.

GoAnimateforSchools - One word: FUN! I enjoy making the cartoons for my students as much as they enjoy watching them.  I make the information very basic so that all my students regardless of readiness level can understand the material.  I wait to share challenging material in class.  For those who like to flip the classroom, this might be a nice way to present information to share with students.

Well, I am going to sharpen my skills on many of these new resources and will reflect on their overall effectiveness once the school year ends.

How do you use these tools (or others) to support science instruction and learning in your classroom?

Continuing my journey...

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